Travelling around Australia in a motorhome. A story of our travels starting from NSW then through Queensland, across to Northern Territory and Western Australia, then to South Australia, Victoria and finally across the seas to Tasmania. We have enjoyed everywhere we have visited and look forward to setting off again in our motorhome.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Calliope 25 June 2015

Calliope 25 June 2015 We had intended to only go on a short drive today, stopping a Gin Gin for our diet cup of coffee (we’re on the 5/2 fast diet) then Miriam Vale, an even smaller village, with a relaxed atmosphere. However heading north, we were sprayed with gravel resulting in 2 large stone chips and lots of little chips. Luckily we were able to get it fixed straight away before it spread. We camped by the Calliope River and got caught in a sudden thunderstorm – the area we are in gets flooded easily but we think it will need to rain a bit heavier to bog us.

Apple Tree Creek Hotel 24 June 2015

Wednesday was Heather’s Birthday, so we had a delicious morning tea at the marina (would you like cream with your cream?) and then a drink. Said goodbye to Sonya and headed north, stopping at Childers for a break. This week is 15 years since the Palace Hotel was burnt down and a number of backpackers died and the tragedy is still remembered by the townsfolk. Camped at Apple Tree Creek and had a meal and a drink at the pub.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Hervey Bay 21 - 23 June 2015

Headed up to Hervey Bay to see the sites and camped on a few acres near the edge of town. We haven’t been to Hervey Bay for about 10 years and in that time it has exploded, with new retirement enclaves, shopping centres and housing estates. There is a noticeable difference between Hervey Bay and Maryborough, with the people who have been forced out of Hervey Bay due to the high house prices, settling for the cheaper and older areas of Maryborough and often travelling back here for work. In the afternoon we visited the local Historical Village to catch up with some of the history of the area. There were about 20 buildings that had been carted in from various outlying areas, representing early houses, a church, chemist, blacksmith, farrier, stable, school, railway station and garage. While we have seen larger historic villages, we were very impressed by the care that had been taken to accurately portray what life would have been like 100 years ago. The early slab hut reminded Peter of the houses that his dad grew up in around outback Queensland and recalled how rapidly life had changed (and continues to change).
On Monday we drove around Dundowran. This is a recent development that has retained all the vine forests along the beaches as the roads spread out from the highway. While we are not fans of residential developments, if you had to live in one there are a lot worse places to settle. The blocks are very large and many have their own lagoons, which give a park like atmosphere to many of the houses. We then drove on to Barrum Heads, a small fishing village at the mouth of the Gregory River for lunch. In the afternoon we drove around Point Vernon and Pialba. While quite built up, the council has managed to retain a large green space around all the beaches, which makes the whole area very attractive and great for a picnic. On Tuesday we had a walk along the esplanade and then had lunch overlooking the marina at the Boat Club. We then went for a stroll along the old pier to watch the sunset. The pier stretched out about 900m and was the only form of transport for the many goods in and out of Hervey Bay. At the end of the pier a number of fishermen were busy pulling in a variety of fish, supervised by a variety of birds. They were kept in check by an osprey that insisted on requiring the first hand-out of any fish that was thrown away.

Maryborough 19 - 20 June 2015

We always enjoy stopping at Maryborough – it has managed to retain its charming heritage buildings and houses set against the background of the beautiful Mary River. We camped in a park and watched the sun set over the river. Maryborough has a rich and varied history, with many fine buildings financed by the gold rush and its position as the busiest port in Queensland. It was probably the port where Peter’s grandfather landed, after fleeing Ireland from the Great Potato Famine that killed so many people and decimated the population for half a century. While the port and river have lost their pre-eminence in the economic life of the district, it has left a legacy of many graceful, if forlorn buildings dotted along the harbour and throughout the town. Nowadays it has been overtaken by Harvey Bay, which feeds on the latest gold rush – Mexicans settling down for their retirement along the beaches and tourists rushing out to see the whales on their annual migrations up and down the coast or heading off to Fraser Island.

Gympie 18 June 2015

Had a great time exploring Gympie. Peter’s family had a farm just south of Gympie and his grandfather is buried in the local cemetery. Unfortunately he died dirt poor as he missed out on the riches generated by the gold rushes. Unlike most Queensland towns, Gympie is not laid out in neat grids, but rather follows the meanderings and hilly goat tracks first established during the gold rush – it makes you appreciate the GPS (when it isn’t sending you up a step cul-de-sac)! Camped on the southern edge of town, but found we were surrounded by ferals and resolved to move on in the morning.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Cooroy 15- 17 June 2015

After leaving Beerwah, we headed up the road to Cooroy, another great little town in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range and camped for a few nights. There is some beautiful scenery around here – reminds us of Jamberoo, with lush farms surrounded by thick forests and the highlands just a few miles up the road. While it is still raining, we had an enjoyable few days driving around and sniffing out the best bakeries – blow the diet! While we are losing interest in Op Shops, special mention should be made of Pomona, a lovely little town with 5 great Op Shops – kept us amused all afternoon!

Queensland - Beerwah 12 - 14 June 2015

Got off the highway as soon as we could and stopped at a sporting ground at Beerwah. This was a little town when we visited it a few years ago, but since then it has been taking growth hormones and now has lots of new houses and 2 new shopping centres - it felt quite suburban but there were lots of other towns to visit around it. Went for a drive around the beaches along Sunshine Coast, but thought it was more like the Central Coast than northern rivers. It is so big now that any charming areas have been cleaned and polished up and form one homogeneous mass of shops, canal houses, beaches and boardwalks. We did manage to find a good Blues singer at Alexander Heads and Mrs Chatalot had a great time talking to the locals.

NSW June 2015

I must admit that this is one of the most frantic starts to a holiday I can remember, with work needed on the RV, car and our house. However we got away eventually and headed north to warmer clims, after a brief stop in the Blue Mountains to catch up with relatives. Normally we take our time and head north west, but this time we made it to Lismore in 2 days - a record for us! Stopped with Nat and Tim to catch up with them - they are busy preparing for their wedding in October. They are renting a place out of Lismore on a farm and enjoying the rural life. Headed up through all the northern rivers towns, dodging the floods (ha ha) and stopped in Redcliffe for the night. It was still raining but definitely warmer then down south.
Pulled into Coopernock for the night and were lucky enough to find a great campsite right next to a wetland area. Walked into town to the pub and had a chat with some other travellers – always fun to swap news and see what other people are doing.